As someone who worked closely with a group of teachers this year on piloting 1:1 devices, I see the benefits of this first hand. But as someone who will now be working with Chromebooks this year on a bigger scale I believe that the purchase of these Chromebooks is pointless without professional development for the staff.
Project Red http://www.projectred.org/ has done extensive research on the use of 1:1 computing and their website is filled with amazing tools to help with implementation of 1:1 computing. Here are some examples:
But none of these can work without training our teachers on how to use the technology. It is a huge waste of money if the technology is not used properly by teachers and students. We must train teachers on how to infuse the technology into the classroom and how to use devices as more than just expensive word processors.
The training cannot be a one size fits all training, because as we're well aware as educators, one size never fits all. We expect teachers to teach using differentiated instruction but we don't always train our teachers that way. There are early adopters who need one kind of training and others who barely know how to turn on a computer. We need to make sure that the PD is differentiated. Mr. Thomas Murray does a great job explaining differentiated PD in the following article.http://smartblogs.com/education/2013/02/06/a-plea-professional-development-reform-8-steps-make-happen-tom-murray/ .
It should also be noted that we can't just do a one-time training with staff. It needs to be ongoing training where a trainer or trainers work closely with the teachers to incorporate the technology into the curriculum. The pilot program I helped implement has worked so well because both I and the teachers were constantly finding ways to infuse the technology into all aspects of the curriculum and constantly making adjustments.
I also believe that we need to make sure to train the parents on how to use these new tools so they can support their children with how to use the Chromebooks and Web 2.0 tools on a daily basis.
Good technology implementation can only occur with buy in and dedicated staff to make that happen. As the Project Red Study and many others state, without ongoing PD these new resources will not foster the transformative changes that can occur when technology is applied effectively. Ongoing differentiated professional development and curriculum integration are key to the success of any technology rollout.
Imagine if students come to one place to get all their questions answers from all of the experts in the school. Instead of just having a separate library, guidance office, main office what if they all shared the same space. ..A learning commons.
Have a questions about college come to the learning commons to use the databases to search for colleges, get scholarship information for the guidance councilor, and get a copy of your transcripts all in one place. Students today are so use to going to one place (Google) for all their information that they often don’t seek out the experts in the school like they should. Having them all located in one central place would solve this problem and really make the library the bub of the school.
Everyone talks about how the library is the center of the school so why not make it that way?
I know this is a radical idea and most schools cannot do this, but I love the concept and would love to see us moving this way in the future.
If your school has moved in this direction I would love to hear about it.
Elissa Malespina is the Middle School Teacher Librarian in Somerville and a Presenter, Author and much more. The views are my own. Find my full resume above.